On the first anniversary of the passing of Paul F. Crouch, co-founder with his wife Jan of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, TBN Chairman Matthew Crouch reflected on his father’s life and legacy, and the vision with which he challenged this generation.
In 2012 my family and I had the privilege of accompanying my father, Paul Crouch, on an extended tour around the world to check in on the scores of television stations and networks that he had a hand in growing over his forty years as a pioneer in Christian television. From the full-power stations across America to TBN’s international networks throughout Latin America, Europe, the Baltics, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia — each stop we made on that memorable journey represented to my dad a milestone of God’s faithfulness in the commission He had given my parents to take the message of Jesus to every corner of the earth.
Time and again as we toured networks, studios, and facilities broadcasting life-changing Christian programming to millions, my dad would recall an incredible story of how God miraculously intervened to arrange for a pivotal meeting with a highly placed official, cut through miles of red tape to provide for a crucial broadcast license, or opened the door to just the right property for a studio or broadcast tower.
I can still see him pausing in this or that city along our itinerary to express his gratitude for his beloved TBN family of partners who had faithfully committed with him to establish these powerful beacons of hope and healing in strategic places across the earth. Most importantly, over and over he thanked God for the countless individuals, families, communities, and nations that were being impacted and transformed through the life-giving programming of TBN.
Before his passing on November 30, 2013, my dad had been in declining health for some time, and we planned this trip knowing that it might well be his final opportunity to visit the many places across the globe where God had used him and my mom to take the gospel through Christian television. As we made our way from city to city and nation to nation where TBN networks are broadcasting, I witnessed in my dad’s eyes and in his heart the same intense passion for souls that had brought him to these places twenty, thirty, and nearly forty years earlier.
I had the privilege of showing him how his determination to use every available tool and technology to send out the message of Jesus continued to bear fruit. In London my father was moved as he saw TBN’s state-of-the-art international studio taking shape to produce programming that will change lives throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. As we traveled by train through China — a vast nation over which he had prayed and contended for decades to establish Christian television — my father sat in amazement as I dialed up TBN on my iPhone and showed him how the network he launched was now available to millions across China via smart phones and mobile devices.
And in Jerusalem my dad wept with quiet joy as he saw with his eyes the answer to a prayer he and my mom had held in their hearts for over forty years: TBN’s miracle studio and network that is broadcasting the message of Jesus throughout Israel and other Middle East nations.
But there was something besides nostalgia and gratitude moving my dad as we witnessed the fruit of God’s faithfulness — a faithfulness that empowered him and my mom to launch one tiny TV station in 1973 and grow it, with the help of a core of committed partners, into 26 global networks reaching every inhabited continent with the hope of the gospel.
That something was a heartfelt urgency that expressed itself in a challenge that my generation would continue — with the same passion and conviction — the mission he knew he was destined soon to lay down. “The world has never been more in need of Jesus,” he told me not long before God called him home. “And the opportunities to share His love with untold millions have never been greater.”
He reminded me of the call God had given him and my mom to use television to take the gospel to the nations, and how they had pressed forward without reservation to fulfill that call. “Now it’s your turn,” he challenged me. “You’ve got the tools, you’ve got the blueprint, and you’ve got the same God who guided us to open new doors where millions more need salvation. You and your generation have a responsibility to keep taking the message of God’s mercy until Jesus returns.”
That challenge is one we have taken to heart at TBN. In the year since my dad’s home-going, we have been able to expand TBN’s 24-hour broadcast presence through networks in Brazil, Finland, and other nations. In Pakistan our TBN affiliate now reaches Urdu-speaking viewers throughout Afghanistan, India, and other countries in Asia. In Germany, TBN’s Bibel TV affiliate is available to nearly 40 million households, while in Poland tens of millions of viewers will soon have access to Christian television through our new TBN Polska network. Exciting new outreaches in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, and Chinese communities worldwide are under development.
And with the launch in January 2015 of TBN UK on Freeview, the U.K.’s number one free-to-air digital broadcasting platform, nearly 63 million individuals throughout the United Kingdom — England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland — will have 24-hour access to TBN’s faith-and-family programming.
King David wrote that God’s mercy is meant to be an ongoing, generational blessing (Psalm 145: 4). Each of us was led to faith in Christ by someone who came before us — moms, dads, pastors, spiritual mentors. We, in turn, are called to take that blessing of God’s mercy and salvation to others — our children and families first, and then to other peoples.
The challenge my father issued to me is echoed through the lives and legacies of these countless godly men and women who came before us, and who committed themselves to praying, going, and giving to the work of the kingdom. Will you join me in meeting that challenge and continuing their selfless legacy of taking the message of hope and healing through Jesus to the nations?